Move from conventional practices to innovative budget making: Kamal Nath

Bhopal: Former Deputy Chairman of the erstwhile Planning Commission, MS Ahluwalia stressed the need for considering rewriting the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act in the changing contexts in view of the increasing finance needs and fiscal limitations of States. There is a need for enacting a law for public-private partnership to overcome the budget constraints for socially important economic infrastructure projects, he added. He was addressing a workshop organized by the Finance Department on the subject of ‘Alternative Finance for Projects’ at the local Minto Hall here on Tuesday.
Addressing the workshop, the Chief Minister Kamal Nath said that the global economic scenario is changing rapidly. Therefore, the financial institutions and the governments also need to change their thought-process. He said that in a vast country like India has largest society of aspirational youth and increased budget resources are required to fulfill their ambitions. He said that it is becoming challenging to mobilize financial resources for the changed and constantly changing India and its
States. Therefore, banks, state governments and private sector institutions need to adopt the change. He laid stress on deviating from the process of conventional budget making process and working on alternative processes and innovative ideas. He said that it has become necessary to focus attention on the economic activities that generate jobs.
The Chief Minister said that in a State like Madhya Pradesh, there are abundant natural resources but in expanding economic activities, they are far behind. He said that efforts are being made to make Madhya Pradesh’s agriculture fully modernized so that the economic activities associated with agriculture can also be expanded. He said that Madhya Pradesh is far ahead in agricultural production but there are many obstacles in exploiting the market potential.
The Chief Minister said that the budget resources mobilization of many countries is excellent even without laws like fiscal responsibility and budget management. He said that there is a reduction of Rs. 14 thousand crores in Madhya Pradesh’s share in the Union Budget. He emphasized on having a new vision and fresh approach to managing budget resources and improving governance.
Ahluwalia said that designing projects, making budget provisions for them and completing them within available resources is a common practice across the world. The fact is that governments have limited financial resources for ambitious projects. The Governments have many tasks, responsibilities, priorities and social obligations apart from economic infrastructure projects. There are many challenges in completing them simultaneously. As a result, the speed of projects slows down and they start lagging behind. He said that there is a need to think beyond the conventional approach of depending on budgetary resources. In such a situation, States look towards the private sector for assistance. The private sector is fearful of risks and threats while the governments are bound by the welfare principles beyond the loss and profit. Both have their limitations. Therefore, there is a need for a law to work in cooperation between the two.
Ahluwalia said that instead of managing finances for large economic infrastructural projects, the system of providing guarantee by the state should also be considered. The governments should assume the role of a friend in managing the financial risks for the projects. For example, in order to deal with the ill effects of climate change, infrastructure projects of economic importance should be given a guarantee. These may include irrigation and water conservation projects. He said that considering the density of forest resources, Madhya Pradesh can ​​raise budget resources on its basis. This process can also be adopted for sector-specific dedicated infrastructure projects.
Finance Minister Tarun Bhanot gave welcome address. The Chief Secretary SR Mohanty said that Madhya Pradesh is not new to innovative practice of mobilizing budget resources. The B.O.T. road projects and Rogi Kalyan Samitis for hospital management are the best examples.
The workshop was attended by top officers of banks, budget experts from the corporate sector, scholars with special abilities in budget formulation and senior officials of departments. Earlier, Chief Minister Kamal Nath presented a memento to Ahluwalia.